Attempts alleged to privatise V.M. Home lands

The sprawling lands of Victoria Memorial Home Residential School in Kothapet, liberally donated by Sixth Nizam Mir Mahbub Ali Khan for orphans and semi orphans, are at the eye of the storm yet again, with the Ministry of Social Welfare reportedly proposing to lease the lands out for private cultivation.

After being thwarted in its attempts to alienate part of the land for Rachakonda Police Commissionerate some time ago, the government has allegedly come up with the fresh proposals, ostensibly to meet the food requirements of the children staying in the hostel.

A meeting of the school’s executive committee chaired by the Minister for Social Welfare Koppula Eeshwar has reportedly taken a decision for leasing out the lands, extending over 45 acres, excluding the built up area.

The matter came out when Mr. Eeshwar invited the representatives of the school’s Old Students’ Association to discuss the issue, as the association has been instrumental in blocking attempts to alienate/encroach the lands for quite some time.

“We have objected to the proposal, and requested the Minister to construct junior and degree colleges for students passing out after SSC. The Minister has plainly refused, and said he will ensure the students are admitted in the State-run Social Welfare residential schools,” B. Maheshwar, president of the association said.

The school’s 73.33 acres of land is divided on either side of the national highway, housing Rythu Bazaar, Babu Jagjivan Ram Bhavan and a private petrol pump on one side, and the school and dormitory buildings, along with sprawling grounds on the other side. Besides, the school also has two separate pieces of land -- behind Rythu Bazaar admeasuring 16 acres, and near NTR Market of L.B.Nagar admeasuring 12 acres.

The land near NTR Market was being utilised till last year to cultivate vegetables for the inmates, by engaging a farmer who worked on monthly salary. After the farmer’s death, there has been no cultivation.

“The land near Rythu Bazaar too is vacant, where cultivation can be done by engaging farmers on salary. The lands within the school’s premises should not be touched,” Mr. Maheshwar demanded, after submitting a representation to the Minister.

The representation sought establishment of an Education Hub at the site with PG college and university, besides clearance of existing encroachments which have been registered in the name of private persons in violation of all rules. Technical education should be reintroduced into the school which will equip the students for easier employment, it said.

When sought his version, Mr. Eeshwar refuted the allegations and said there has not been any proposal for leasing out the lands for private cultivation. The meeting discussed repairs to the heritage building, construction of new dormitory, toilets, dining halls, and others, he said.

Agenda for the meeting, among other points, mentions “proposals for protection & utilization of V.M.Home lands making sufficient”.

The meeting was attended by Secretary, SC Development, Rahul Bojja, and Commissioner, SC Development, Yogita Rana, among others.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 10:48:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/attempts-alleged-to-privatise-vm-home-lands/article33992230.ece

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